Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Armstrong To Race In NorCal This Weekend

Many of the nation’s top cycling teams including one Lance Armstrong are heading to the Northern Sierra foothills to take on one of the toughest one-day challenges in the world of competitive bicycling.

The 49th Annual Nevada City Bicycle Classic on Father’s Day, June 21, features a full day of world-class cycling in one of Northern California’s most colorful small towns.

A Father’s Day tradition, the Nevada City Classic is the oldest bicycle racing event on the West Coast, second oldest race in the nation, and a top sporting event of the Sierra foothills.

This year’s event will feature many of the top riders who raced earlier this year in the Amgen Tour of California. Race Director Duane Strawser said he expects racers from several top teams, including Slipstream, Columbia, BMC, Bissell, Waste Management, SERT/SHO-AIR, Safeway, Morgan Stanley, Jelly Belly, Cheer Wine, Proman, Vella Bella, Wells Fargo and others.

Former Tour de France champions Greg LeMond and Lance Armstrong and Tour of California winner Levi Leipheimer are among the cycling legends who raced in Nevada City in their younger days.

Nevada City has again been selected as a venue for the Lance Armstrong Junior Olympic Race Series (LAJORS) for upcoming junior racers 18 and under. Strawser said more than 30 top national junior riders will take part in this year’s junior event.

Bicycling Magazine once reported, “If there’s a perfect bicycle racing town anywhere in America, it has to be tiny Nevada City, California.”

Strawser said Nevada City’s cycling heritage has placed the town in contention as a possible stop on the 2010 Amgen Tour of California. Strawser and others are working to bring the event to the foothills.

The bike race is a big event in Nevada City. On race day, the city’s population of 3001 swells by several thousand cheering spectators who line the course to witness the high-speed action through the heart of the downtown historic district. Racers have often said there is nowhere on the cycling tour that draws the crowds and levels of enthusiasm they see in Nevada City.

The main event is the men's senior/pro 90-minute main event. Spectators feel the breeze as riders speed down Broad Street at speeds approaching 50 mph before tackling the tough climbs through Victorian neighborhoods around the back side of the course. Spectators often walk the course to take in the action from various spots.

Women’s, Junior’s and Master’s races also are planned. Racing action begins with the junior event at 1 p.m. and continues until about 6:30 p.m. The women’s race is at 3 p.m. and the main event is scheduled at 5 p.m.

Nevada City is located at the 2,500-foot elevation on the forested western slope of the Sierra Nevada. From Sacramento, it's a one-hour drive via eastbound Interstate 80 and northbound Highway 49. Nevada City is 90 minutes from Reno and 50 minutes from Truckee via westbound I-80 and Highway 20.

The Nevada City Classic is under the sponsorship and direction of the Nevada City Chamber of Commerce.

For information on the 49th Annual Nevada City Bicycle Classic, call the Nevada City Chamber of Commerce at (530) 265-2692, or go to the official race website,

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